During the first UK Lockdown, from March 2020, I was working as a frontline NHS junior doctor, in A&E and the acute medical wards. I caught Covid, I was worried for my life, and I wrote a diary, obsessively, which will be published next year.

The Double Detectives Medical Mysteries: Diagnosis Danger

The Double Detectives Medical Mysteries: Diagnosis Danger

The second UK Lockdown, which has just finished as I write this (December 2020), felt really different. My children were still going to school, there was still traffic on the roads, the birdsong was suppressed by the cold and the busy background hum of the streets. This time I was working as a GP, in a deprived area of Kent, with many patients coming to me daily with worsening mental health. Jobs had been lost during the pandemic, relationships had broken down, money had become scarce, childcare had disappeared, grandparents were isolated, and social support networks were weakened by social distancing. My immunosuppressed and vulnerable colleagues kept coming into work, taking a daily risk at the GP site, with limited PPE to protect them from catching Covid from our patients, just a mask, a plastic pinny and gloves. One very symptomatic patient actually came to the door to ask for her result, and we told her she had Covid, and to go straight home.

We all did our best, but despite the Lockdown, Covid cases were soaring. I was asked to go back to the hospital early, before my placement was finished, to support the acute wards. During the second Lockdown, I did nothing apart from go to work and come back home, with our self isolating children often stuck at home, as every week someone in their school bubble had another positive test. I'd like to say that we baked, that we sang, that we exercised and did the worthy things that celebrities posted on social media. But all I managed was to keep my patients safe, my family safe, and this time, I kept myself safe. It wasn't that ambitious, but it was enough.

About Roopa Farooki

Roopa Farooki is an award-winning author of six novels for adults and has been listed for the Women's Prize for Fiction three times. She lectures in creative writing at the University of Oxford, is the Ambassador for the Family for the relationship charity, Relate, and is an NHS junior doctor.

Roopa's middle grade series for Oxford University Press, The Double Detectives Medical Mysteries, features twins Ali and Tulip, inspired by her own twin girls.

She says that doctors, detectives and writers have something in common, they all like to solve mysteries, and work out what makes people tick.


The Double Detectives Medical Mysteries: Diagnosis Danger will be published in January 2020 by Oxford Children’s

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Even before the pandemic I had been in a form of confinement. Carrying twins and with the luxury of a full-time job that I could do from home, I had made grand plans for after the arrival of my children. When my maternity leave kicked in, oh, the places we’d go! All the family we’d see! I would have time to edit my debut novel in exciting cafes, on riverfronts, up moors and in the glorious sunshine, two perfectly quiet babies napping at my feet or in their grandparents’ arms…to read more click HERE